Last week we recapped the regular season by taking a look at some of the more intriguing storylines, stats and facts from the 2014 NFL campaign. We examined league records and team accomplishments. To read part one, click here.
In part 2, we examine some the best individual performances of the 2014 season.
Now that we have looked at the 2014 season from a league and team perspective, here are some special performances from a select few players during the season.
ODELL BECKHAM, JR. WR, New York Giants:
Historically speaking, ODB’s end of the year performance has never been seen in NFL history—don’t believe me—here is the proof.
ODB had 91 receptions—the most in a player’s first 12 games to begin a career in NFL history. His 1,305 receiving yards in 12 games surpassed BILLY HOWTON (1,231 with Green Bay in 1952) for the most receiving yards for a player’s first 12 career games in NFL history.
ODB Joined Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL IRVIN (1995) as the only players in NFL history to have at least 90 receiving yards in nine consecutive games. Had 606 receiving yards in the month of December, the most by a rookie in any calendar month in NFL history. ODB became the first rookie in NFL history with at least 12 catches, 140 receiving yards and three touchdown catches in a game.
And finally, ODB had four games with at least 10 receptions this season, the most such games by a rookie in NFL history. He became the first rookie in NFL history with at least 130 receiving yards and a touchdown catch in four consecutive games
Like I said—NFL HISTORY!
Drew Brees and Tom Brady both climbed higher on the all-time list for career passing yards and extended their career touchdowns total. Brees now ranks fourth in both yards (56,033) and TD passes (396). Brady is now fifth in both passing yards (53,258) and TDs (392).
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger became the first player in NFL history with six touchdown passes in back-to-back games (Weeks 8-9), joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Y.A. TITTLE (1962) as the only players with multiple six touchdown games in one season. Aaron Rodgers finished the season with a 112.2 passer rating and is the only player in NFL history to register a 100+ rating in six consecutive seasons (2009-14).
Andrew Luck (4,761 in 2014; 4,374 in 2012) joined Peyton Manning and Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO as the only players in NFL history to pass for at least 4,000 yards in two of their first three seasons.
RUNNING FOR DAYLIGHT:
Several running backs enjoyed historic seasons in 2014. Dallas’ De Marco Murray finished the season with an NFL-best 1,845 rushing yards. Murray had 12 100-yard rushing games, the second-most 100-yard rushing games in a season in NFL history. Murray passed Pro Football Hall of Famer EMMITT SMITH (11 100-yard games and 1,773 rushing yards in 1995) in both categories to set single-season franchise records.
Murray also became the first player in NFL history to rush for at least 100 yards in each of his team’s first eight games to start a season. Pittsburgh’s Le’ Veon Bell amassed 2,215 scrimmage yards (1,361 rushing, 854 receiving), the most in franchise history. From Weeks 11-14 (Pittsburgh had a Week 12 bye), Bell had at least 200 scrimmage yards, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer WALTER PAYTON (1977) as the only players in NFL history with at least 200 scrimmage yards in three consecutive games.
Green Bay running back Eddie Lacey rushed for 1,139 yards and scored 13 scrimmage touchdowns, becoming the first player in franchise history to rush for at least 1,000 yards and score 10+ scrimmage touchdowns in each of his first two seasons.
Cincinnati rookie running back Jeremy Hill led all rookies with 1,124 rushing yards. Hill had four 140-yard performances, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson (five in 1983) and Curtis Martin (four in 1995) as the third rookie with at least four 140-yard rushing games.
Receiving their Due:
Five players registered at least 100 receptions in 2014 – Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown (129), Denver’s Demaryius Thomas (111), Atlanta’s Julio Jones (104), Chicago’s Matt Forté (102) And Denver’s Emmanuel Sanders (101).
Brown’s 129 receptions are the second-most in a season in NFL history. It is the first time a Steeler has led the NFL in receptions in a season. Brown also became the fourth player in NFL history with consecutive 110-catch seasons, joining Pro Football
Hall of Famers Jerry Rice (1994-95) and Cris Carter (1994-95) and Wes Welker (2007-09, 2011-12). Four players recorded at least 1,500 receiving yards in 2014 – Antonio Brown (1,698), Demaryius Thomas (1,619), Julio Jones (1,593) And Jordy Nelson (1,519) – tied for the most in a season (1995).
Detroit’s Calvin Johnson has 44 career 100-yard receiving games, the second-most in a player’s first eight NFL seasons. Only RANDY MOSS (45) has more. Johnson, who has 10,405 career receiving yards, is one of 44 players in NFL history to reach 10,000. Johnson reached the milestone in his 115th game (Week 13), surpassing TORRY HOLT (116 games) as the fastest player in NFL history to reach 10,000 receiving yards.
Houston defensive end J.J. Watt once again made his presence felt on defense – 20.5 sacks, 10 passes defensed, four forced fumbles, an interception-return touchdown, a fumble recovery-touchdown and a safety –and contributed on offense as well, catching three touchdowns in 2014. Watt became the first player in NFL history with at least three offensive touchdowns, two touchdowns on takeaways and a safety in the same season.
Watt also became the first player with at least 20 sacks in two different seasons (20.5 in 2012) since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. He is the only player in NFL history with at least 35 sacks (57.0), an interception-return touchdown (one) and a receiving touchdown (three) in his first four NFL seasons.
Watt Joined George Halas (1927), Jay Arnold (1938) And Billy Stacy (1961) as the only players to score a touchdown on a reception, interception return and return on an opponent’s fumble in the same season and in Week 11, became the only NFL player to register a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery and touchdown reception in the same game since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.
The Texans were a much better team in 2014 under Bill O’Brien but without Watt, they don’t win six game much less improve to 9-7. Like I said, MVP-MVP-MVP